This past March I got to take my 2nd trip across the big pond to Europe with my mom. Our reason for going… though who needs a reason to travel… was to see my best friend, Hope, who was in Germany for the semester student teaching! We had a wonderful spring week together and got to see many beautiful sights!
We first landed in Munich, Germany. Munich has been my favorite German city since I was there in 2014. Munich is very clean, has a great atmosphere, and their rail system is very easy to navigate. The Marienplatz is a must see. This is the town center of Munich and it has cobblestone streets, tons of Biergartens, and lots of pretty buildings. We spent much of our time in Munich at Biergartens and walking the streets. The Biergarten that is my personal favorite is the Hofbrauhaus. This is a very touristy Biergarten, but is authentic and has a fun vibe. We even met and talked with someone who was from Georgia, such a small world.
I also recommend climbing the many many many stairs of St. Peter’s Church tower to see a great view of Munich. My mom and I also went to the Residenz, which is a former royal palace. It was neat, but much of it was destroyed during WWII so many things have been recreated. If you don’t have much time, I wouldn’t recommend going to it.
The next place we went after Munich was Nuremberg. Nuremberg’s old town was very pretty. However, when you first arrive in Nuremberg via train, their Hauptbahnhof (train station) is located outside of old town and the city isn’t as clean or have the old architecture like Munich. We stayed at the Hilton (Thanks, mom and your reward points!). The hotel was very close to the Hauptbahnhof and we were also a very short walk to old town. Old town is really neat because it is surrounded by old castle walls. Once you cross over you are walking on cobble stones and surrounded by classic German architecture. There is so much to do inside the castle walls with plenty of shopping, food, and more Biergarten. We lucked out and were there around Easter so there were little Easter shops set up in the middle of the streets. If I didn’t just have a backpack with me for the trip I would have bought some Easter decorations. On top of decorations at these pop-up shops, there were also beautiful tulips that I couldn’t get enough of!
In Nuremberg, I recommend going to:
Nuremberg Castle- This is at the back of old town and has great views overlooking the city. We did the museum, but I personally am not very interested in Medieval history so I didn’t find it very interesting, but the inside of the castle was cool to see.
Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds– We did not have enough time to see this whole complex… lots of walking and not enough time! But the Nazi Rally Grounds was cool to see if you’re interested in WWII. This area is also where the Nuremberg trials were held. The rally grounds are not anywhere close to old town and requires you to take a trolley, which is very easy and gives you some time off your feet.
St. Sebaldus Church– This medieval church is a must see and is in old town.
Glockenspiel on Die Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)– This church is also located in old town and I definitely recommend waiting for the glockenspiel to move outside the church.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a short train ride from Nuremberg and I highly recommend taking a day to see it! This town is straight out of the storybook. The train station is outside of the old town and it’s about a 5-10-minute walk to get inside the older part. The old town, like Nuremberg, is also surrounded by old castle walls. Inside the walls is a beautiful village that has a day’s worth of activities. The town has beautiful and colorful old architecture and small cobble stone streets. There are so many unique shops to look and/or shop in. The neat part about the shops is that most are unique to either the town or Germany, so you’re not looking at items you typically purchase in the USA. This is where my love of Polish Pottery began! My mom and I spent an entire day walking in and out of shops and admiring the town.
Salzburg was probably my hands down favorite city we visited during the trip. Salzburg is at the top of Austria so it is not a bad train ride from Nuremberg. Just like the other cities I mentioned, the train station is outside of the old town of Salzburg, so if you are staying in the older part, you will have to take a bus, which is very easy. Salzburg is really just gorgeous and what even better is that you can see most things in a weekend time span. Whether you are walking through the old town portion that has cobble stone streets, tiny alleyways, and little shops or walking around the outside of the older portion you will not be disappointed. Here is what I recommend not missing!
Hohensalzburg Castle- This castle provides GREAT views of Salzburg and the surrounding areas. You can also walk around the outside and inside of the castle.
Mirabell Palace- We just walked around outside in the gardens, but when we were there the flowers weren’t in bloom yet. It was still pretty to see without the flowers so I can’t image with flowers!
Salzburg Cathedral- This is a baroque-style cathedral and was beautiful inside.
Mozart’s Birthplace- I’m really not into classical music, but we have all learned about Mozart in music class at some time throughout our educations. This is a small museum and doesn’t take long to go through, but I found it neat being inside Mozart’s home and learning about his life.
Schlosspark Hellbrunn- This is the supposed place where Sound of Music was filmed, but I learned that it was just the location that the Sound of Music was based upon… disappointing if you’re a big SOM fan. BUT the Schlosspark Hellbrunn was beautiful and you should definitely make the trek to see it! The yellow mansion is something you can stare at for quite a while and what makes it even more beautiful is that snow capped mountains are right behind it. On the mansion grounds, there are many gardens to walk around. Schlosspark Hellbrunn is located away from the heart of Salzburg, which would make it quite a long walk, but you can take a short bus ride to it. FYI, if you are traveling in March, like us, the mansion is not open to visitors until April 1st. But we still were able to walk around the grounds, which I really enjoyed.
We also took a tour of the Bavarian Mountains, which we purchased from a tour shop inside the older portion of Salzburg. This was really AWESOME because we got to drive into the mountains and spend a little time in some mountain villages along the journey. It is definitely worth our while and money.
My mom purchased the Rick Steve’s southern Germany book before we left and it was a great use throughout the whole trip! We were able to use the book to take our own tours throughout each of the cities that I mentioned above and Steve’s does a great job providing all the information that you need to get to each location… like bus numbers.
If you’re traveling to any of these areas and need any tips or specifics let me know and (maybe) I will be able to help or I would love to hear your stories!